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Washington, DC

 

BEST OUTDOORS IN WDC: C&O Canal (**).  The towpath is used for biking, walking, and jogging.  There are several access points in Georgetown, including one right by Key Bridge.  There is traffic noise on the first 1/2 mile when the path is close to a busy roadway.  But beyond that first 1/2 mile  you get to quite and seclusion.  You can measure your progress by the number of locks you pass.  On bicycle you can go all way to Great Falls, MD, and back in a day.   

 

The full stretch is 185 miles, passing Harper's Ferry, WV, and ending at Cumberland, MD.  Below is a map, courtesy National Parks, US Department of Interior, of the portion near WDC.

 

 

 

OUT of WDC: Shenandoah National Park is a pleasant country retreat and only 1 1/2 hour drive from WDC on Interstate 66.  B&Bs in Front Royal and vicinity make a wonderful base for 2-3 days of exploring in the area.   One of the great attraction of the area is the 500 mile trail system in the national park.  Park headquarters is 10 minutes from Front Royal.  The most scenic trails are about 20 minute drive further into the park.  Among other attractions in the area:  antique stores and wineries (see below).

 

 

View from Skyline Drive

Late fall colors

 

Along one of the 500 miles of trails inside the park

Wineries of Virginia  Virginia is relatively new to wine making.  The Jefferson and Washington estates were known to make wine but the commercial scale vineyards started much later.  The Farfelu Vineyards was the first to be established in Virginia after Prohibition.  It was started by a WWII fighter pilot, who turned into a commercial pilot (United Airlines), and then turned into a wine maker.  A visit to the Farfelu vineyards is well worthwhile, both for a scenic drive and the tasting.  Farfelu is near Flint Hill, VA,  about 20 minutes driving from Front Royal.  There are about a half dozen more vineyards in the area that can be linked for an afternoon wine tasting tour. 

 

Farfelu was the nickname of the vineyards founder.

Where to eat  There are many restaurants in the Front Royal, but with one exception, they are not remarkable or recommendable.  The exception is "Apartment 2G," at J's Gourmet on 206 S Royal Ave (*,$$).  Reservation required.  Dinner is served in the small and intimate upstairs apartment and is prixe fixe.  You can watch the chef on closed circuit TV or visit the kitchen to chat with the chef while your meal is prepared.  Excellent, moderately prices wine selection.  If you are going to have one dinner in Front Royal, this is the place to go.  Besides Apartment 2G, the locals recommend restaurants in nearby Flint Hill.

 

Where to sleep in Front Royal  The Chester House B&B ($$) is situated on 2 beautifully maintained garden acres and has many beautiful and unique antiques inside.  Host: Phillip Inge.